Hypermedia Newspaper
SPP-ICS 5003-45333


The HyperNews project is a collaboration project between the Centre Universitaire d'Informatique of the University of Geneva and the weekly magazine L'Hebdo.HyperNews, together with the ASAP and KryPict projects, is part of the MEDIA project supported by the Swiss Priority Programme for Information and Communication Structures (SPP-ICS). The objective of the MEDIA project is to develop a system for archiving and dissemination of electronic documents under similar conditions as printed documents, using an agent-based, distributed, and secure platform.

The HyperNews project aims at developing an electronic newspaper environment based on agent technology for the WWW. This environment will offer the information providers of newspapers, magazines and alike the means to commercialize electronically the information they hold under similar commercial conditions as the printed versions. It will also offer the information consumers the means to reduce the time spent in retrieving the information for which they have expressed interest without being tied to a specific information provider.

The information consumers and providers run an agent execution platform on which the different components of the hypernews system execute as software agents. The mobile agents are used to encapsulate the data in hypernews article agents and to update specific software agents bound to the information providers. The resulting article agents can be distributed and duplicated at will (superdistribution) since the access to the content is bound to the payment. This is achieved through a scheme that enforces copyright control and payment at the time the information is accessed for reading, instead of the traditional way where the copyright control and payment is done at the moment the reader downloads the information. Such an environment offers the newspaper and magazine publishing industry the means to commercialize their information, which can range from individual news articles to complete magazines and books, in a way that enforces copyright control and guarantees revenue collection. Moreover, it offers the information consumer an interface which is both vendor independent and customized according to the users needs.

Requirements for a 
commercial electronic magazine

The requirements for a commercial electronic magazine can be seen from two points of view: the information consumer's (the reader), and the information provider's (the publisher). The reader of an electronic magazine should be able to: The information provider (publisher of an electronic magazine), on the other hand should be able to:

Architecture of HyperNews

In order to fulfil the above requirements we have designed and are currently implementing in java an electronic-newspaper system based on agents. The overall system architecture is composed of three layers as shown graphically in Figure 1.

The lowest gray shaded layer is the agent layer representing the underlying agent infrastructure over which the hypernews system is implemented. The second layer, the core environment, is the basic building block of the hypernews system. It enables the safe and secure distribution and exchange of electronic documents (i.e., hypernews articles). The top layer, the hypernews application layer, implements the various tools and applications bound to the hypernews system. These tools are the interface to the users.

Project Status

The first phase of the project was completed in April 1998, and a full prototype has been implemented. The developed system is composed of a general purpose framework for the commercial exchange of arbitrary electronic information and, an electronic newspaper application build on top of it. The second phase of the project will start in June 1998 and targets towards the generalization of the system for the commercialization of arbitrary electronic documents, like books and commercial reports, and in the study, design and integration of off-line payment mechanisms.

The developed electronic newspaper applications, HyperNews, is implemented in Java allowing the readers to access the electronic newspaper over their WWW browser. An example of the article selection and article purchase screen is given in the screen-captures shown bellow.



A complete and up to date list of publications of the HyperNews project can be found here.

Dissemination of the HyperNews Approach

Presentations of the HyperNews Approach


Dr. Dimitri Konstantas 
Jean-Henry Morin
University of Geneva 
Centre Universitaire d'Informatique
24 rue Général-Dufour
CH-1211 Genève, Suisse
Tel : +41 (22) 705.7664
Tel : +41 (22) 705.7661
Fax: +41 (22) 705.7780
José Rossi 
Pont Bessiéres 3
CH-1005 Lausanne, Suisse
Tel: +41 (21) 320.3611
Fax: +41 (21) 320.3617